Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

Interaction Management in Nigerian Television Talk Shows

Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

Interaction Management in Nigerian Television Talk Shows

Article excerpt


Although there is a growing number of works on discourse analysis in Nigeria which covers classroom interactions, courtroom discourse, medical communication and media discourse, the language of television (TV) talk shows has not been fully explored. This study therefore, examined turn management in this genre. It identified the turn distribution strategies in Nigerian television talk shows and the contributions of these strategies to the management of the talks. Sacks, Schegloffand Jefferson's Conversation Analysis served as our theoretical framework. Three Nigerian TV talk shows, namely, "Patito's Gang", "New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda" and "Inside Out" were selected for this study. Each selected talk show comprised four sampled episodes. "Patito's Gang" from a private television station; "New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda" from a national television station and "Inside Out" from a private television station were purposively selected because they were handled by freelance presenters who were free from undue interference. Collection of data spanned four years: 2004-2008. And the analysis was both quantitative and qualitative. Generally, three turn distribution strategies were identified: Current-Speaker-Selects-Next-Speaker, Next-Speaker-Self-Selects-as-Next and Current-Speaker-Continues (where there is no pre-selection or self-selection). Current speaker selected next speaker by direct questioning, gaze and gestures. Next speaker self-selected as next through interruptions, overlaps, discourse markers, pauses and falling intonation. Where there was no pre-selection or self-selection at Transition Relevance Places, the current speaker continued after a pause of about half a second or more. These strategies enabled effective interaction management amongst the participants as turn allocation was not restricted but moderated by the hosts.

Keywords: Interaction, Turn distribution strategies, Television talk shows, Conversation analysis, Turn allocation, Transition relevance place

1. Introduction

1.1 Definition and characteristics of Talk show

Like the soap opera, the talk show is an invention of twentieth century broadcasting. It takes a very old form of communication, conversation, and transforms it into a low cost but highly popular form of information and entertainment through the institutions, practices and technologies of television (peerpapers, 2010). A talk show is a television or radio program where one person (or group of people) discusses various topics put forth by a talk show host. Sometimes, talk shows feature a panel of guests, usually consisting of a group of people who are learned or who have great experience in relation to whatever issue is being discussed on the show for that episode. At other times, a single guest discusses his work or area of expertise with a host or co-hosts (Wikipedia, 2009). Television talk shows often feature celebrity guests who talk about their work and personal lives as well as their latest films, TV shows, music recordings or other projects they would like to promote to the public. The shows selected for this study, however, dwell on topical, moral, economic and social-political issues as they affect Nigerians. Talk shows are indeed forums through which society comes to terms with the topics, issues and themes that define its basic values, what it means to be a 'citizen', a participating member of that society. Several TV talk shows in Nigeria such as "Patito's Gang", "Tuesday Live on NTA", "New Dawn"and "Inside Out" have become microcosms of society as cutting-edge social and cultural issues are debated and discussed.

1.2 Types of talk show

According to most veteran broadcasters, there are two types of chatter on TV. The first is "television talk," defined by the Museum of Broadcast Communications as unscripted conversation directed to the audience, and "talk shows"-shows organized principally around talk. "Television talk" represents all the unscripted forms of conversation and direct address to the audience that have been present on television from the beginning. …

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